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Title: The physics of negative refraction and transformation optics
Author: Wee, Wei Hsiung
ISNI:       0000 0004 2706 2287
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2011
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Whilst optics is one of the oldest field in science, there are still aspects of electromagnetism that we are only beginning to uncover. For instance, it was demonstrated that materials with simultaneously negative permittivity and permeability exhibit certain exotic behavior; where familiar physical phenomena, such as refraction, are reversed. As such, these materials came to be known as negative refractive index materials (NRIM) and their collective properties as negative refraction. One of the most important and remarkable property of NRIM is perfect lensing - the ability to transport both supra and sub-wavelength optical information from one surface (object plane) to another (image plane), forming images with unprecedented resolution, beyond the diffraction limit. Perfect lensing itself is a consequence of deeper symmetries in electromagnetism, encapsulated in the language of transformation optics - with which we have both a descriptive tool to unify diverse electromagnetic configuarations, as well as a prescriptive tool to design media which bends light at will. While, such transformation medium and NRIM have been demonstrably realised using metamaterials, several challenges remain, of which loss is the major challenge. It is therefore under this trinity of concepts: metamaterials, negative refraction and transformation optics that this thesis is presented. In particular, this thesis illustrates the convergence of the later two concepts, giving rise to a novel class of perfect lens - the compact perfect lens. Here, we shall investigate, their unique properties, construction, challenges, and the dynamics of these lenses. In particular the formulation to study dynamics and effects of losses, is universal; applicable to lenses of any geometry. Finally we shall also propose an alternative universal, top-down approach to overcome losses in perfect lenses using phase conjugation, and demonstrate the capacity of such lenses to see through lossy, translucent obstacles.
Supervisor: Pendry, John Sponsor: DSO National Laboratories (Singapore)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral